Phone Cards Affiliate Program

Always interested in different methods to make money online, I decided to check out a phone card affiliate program offered by E-Trepreneur.

So far I’ve had few dealings with affiliate marketing in my “online career”, so I was pretty eager to see what E-Trepreneur could offer.

Here’s what I’ve been able to gather from the website. Judge for yourself if this is for you!

First Impressions
Upon first glance, the site looks a bit thrown together. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen worse but if this company is serious about attracting affiliates, I would get a graphic designer on the job STAT! But what am I saying? Who cares about the look…What about the program?

The Details
Now even though I’ve had limited experience with affiliate programs, the following excerpt from the site worried me…

When signing up, you will be charged a $74.95 one-time set up fee. We accept Visa, Master Card, Amex or Discover as payment methods. Please do not forget that there is a monthly charge of $19.95.

Now I’ve never heard of an affiliate program charging you to join, (since you’re the one helping them out), but what do I know? And I wish at this point I could say you only need X sales a month to cover the $19.95 montly charge but I really couldn’t find any information about how much the phone cards would be.

Conclusion
Hm. Uh…I’m not really sure what to say. Other affiliate programs I’ve dealt with have been very forthcoming with information and details about the product and unfortunately in this case, the information about the actual phone card(s) just aren’t there. And even though the rates for “membership” seem high (imho), until we know more about the actual products, I guess I can’t say one way or another if this affiliate program is worth our time.

Why I Love Blogging

When you’re away from the blogosphere for as long as I was, you really get an opportunity to reflect on this whole crazy thing called blogging.

For me, I hadn’t really had a time away from Bush Mackel since I committed to it a couple of months ago and honestly, it pained me to be away.

Hm.

I don’t think I’ve said that about anything I’ve ever worked on before.

I mean, I always like “getting away” for a bit from things I’m working on, but working on my blog never seems like work. It’s just something that I love to do. And here’s why :

Blogging is Dynamic
I hate to say it, but right now too many people have me doing too many things I don’t like and often its the same story over and over again. But unlike so many other things that I “have to do”, blogging isn’t the same thing day in and day out, at least it doesn’t have to be. Take my blog for instance… I tend to focus on video games and technology. The subject “technology” alone gives me a million and one things to write about ensuring I never run out of things to post about. And aside from writing, there’s always the business side to blogging that is just so interesting. (At least to me). Sprinkle in the ever changing science of the Internet, and you have something that just never gets old.

Blogging is Challenging
There are so many things about blogging that don’t come easily to me. (Writing is easily at the top of the list). And others are the little things we put on ourselves such as readership, search engine traffic and AdSense revenue (to name a few). And it seems with all of these little things, there’s room to grow. More importantly than that (imho) is that all these things require hard work to accomplish, both in education and execution.

Blogging is a Connection to Others
If you’ve been a reader of this site for a minute, you know that everyone that contributes to this site is what keeps me going. Writing to be writing is fine if that’s what you’re about, but being able to connect to others on a personal level is really something fantastic. It’s funny… You tell this to someone who’s not a blogger and there’s no way they’re going to believe you. Heck, if you told me some months ago, I’d probably have felt the same. But now I converse with your guys on e-mail, on XBox live, on IM… And when I read one of your posts about something that happens to you it’s like getting a letter from a good friend.

So those are some of the reasons why I love blogging. What are yours?

La Voila!

I got tagged by Forest for this sweet little meme of his.

Now even though I don’t participate in half the memes I get tagged in (mostly due to laziness), I’m all for us bloggers getting personal on our blogs.

After all, isn’t that what blogging is all about? (Well besides all the glitz and glamour that comes from calling ourselves “bloggers”?)

This is me:

Blogging can become unpersonalized as we rarely see the author so the idea of this meme is to let us all have a little peak at the person behind the blog.See us here :

Forest Parks from The Random Forest
Bush Mackel

If you want to participate, just follow these instructions:
– Copy this post and amend the text above ‘This is me’.
– Replace the image with a nice smiley, silly, serious picture of yourself.
– Make sure your name and link is added to the participant list.
– Tag and link some fellow bloggers in the ‘Show us yourself’ area
– Let them know they have been tagged.

Ok, so I didn’t tag anyone. But I figure those who want to have some fun will join in the action!

Guess Who's Back!

Guess who’s back?

Back again?

Bush is back.

Tell a friend.

I’m not gonna lie, I’m so happy to be back blogging. (#):)

It was torture not having the time to put together quality posts but honestly, I think the time away has been good for me.

Where Have I Been?
Not in the blogosphere, that’s for sure. As many of you know, this past … two weeks *sigh* or so, I’ve been working on a big project at work. And unfortunately since I have a kid now, I do a good share of my blogging at work during my down time. Most of the time it’s not writing full posts, but instead putting the finishing touches on ones I’ve already started. In my opinion, that work that I do on my posts the morning after I’ve started them is really what gives them the polish I’m so proud of. And honestly, if I can’t put that sparkle on my posts, I’d rather not write ANY instead of putting out garbage I wish I never wrote in the first place.

Outside of work, I’ve been spending of my evenings with my kid since my wife is neck deep in Physician Assistant School taking 22 credits. And I swear Little Mac loves typing on keyboards more than me (even though that’s a different kind of keyboard in the pic). Ha ha. I mean, as a computer guy I love to see my kid taking such an interest in technology, but it doesn’t exactly help me get posts written. (#);)

And besides that, I’d probably manged to sneak in 20 games of Halo in the past two weeks including a couple with Mike last week. *thumbs up* (I’m so glad I did better the second go around…That first time I know Mike was wondering what he was getting himself into with me racking up 4 big kills or so, ha ha).

Where Am I Now?
As this project is winding down at work, I’m really just looking forward to getting back into the swing of things here. Writing some great quality posts, hopefully making a bit of scratch on the side, and most importantly reconnecting with all of you out there in dream land!P.S. To all of you who I’ve talked to in this site’s brief intermission, thanks for thinking of me. And to all of the rest, I can’t wait to talk to you soon! *e-tear*

Wo ist Bush Mackel?

Some of you may have noticed that I haven’t exactly been a gold star blogger this week.

Well don’t worry, I’m not going to drop a bomb on here or anything, I’ve just been super busy at work and a project that I’m working on is fast approaching a deadline. *rolling eyes*

Not only have I been working on it at work but at home too much to the wife’s displeasure.

So until I can knock this little thing outta here, the posts are going be to be a bit scant, (if they show up at all). But have no fear! I’m thinking this thing is going to be done by this Fri so next week it’ll be back to business on here. Talk to you all soon!

Sandisk Sansa Express 1GB MP3 Player Review

I don’t like iPods.

The two big reasons being I don’t like how Apple tries to strong arm you into using iTunes, and I think iPods are way over priced, especially for what I use portable music players for.

So finding myself once again in need of a portable music player (after my wife stole/lost my others), I manged to pick up a real gem in the Sandisk Sansa Express 1GB MP3 player.

What Can $40 Buy You?

If you’re in an Apple store, not a 1GB iPod Shuffle. If on the other hand you find yourself in a leading electronic retailer, you can end up with a MP3 player with a lot more features than the Shuffle. I mean, check out these features that come on the 1GB Sandisk Sansa Express :

  • Digital display
  • Radio tuner
  • Voice recorder AND Radio Recorder
  • Micro SD expansion slot


Why I Like the Sandisk Sansa Express over the iPod Shuffle
If I had one complaint about the Shuffle, it’s that it is not as intuitive to use as it should be. I swear I can’t count the amount of times where I’ve fired it up to listen to music, I push the play button and all I get are flashing green and yellow lights. What the devil is that!? It’s like I have to learn morse code just to decipher whether or not the stupid thing is playing or not. But I guess that’s what happens when you make the thing as small as humanly possible.

So besides the digital display on the Sansa Express 1GB, I also love how it has a FM tuner. Granted I only listen to one station on the radio, but I pretty much like all the programming on that station so having a portable music player that can play music AND allow me to listen to the radio is pretty awesome. I also feel pretty good about about the expansion slot though I haven’t gotten a chance to use it yet. And finally, this isn’t the 80’s anymore so the whole neon Shuffle thing really doesn’t do it for me. Give me a black sleek MP3 player any day!

Is This for You?
If you’re looking for a MP3 player to hold your entire music collection, this probably won’t have the space for you. But, if you’re looking for a cheap MP3 player that has some space and room to grow, why not get it!? And especially if you’re looking for something that beats the iPod Shuffle, I think this gets the job done hands down.


A ringtone is a sound of a phone that shows an incoming call. Sometimes it is by default and sometimes it has been installed. A person can download free nextel ringtones through various websites online. They have variety in them. You can also customize a phone by mp3 ringtones if the phone is compatible to that

More Food For Thought with Google and PR

Yesterday we had a lot of good talk about Page Rank, Google, and penalizations. And looking back in our conversation, I don’t think I really picked a side in the whole thing.

Now don’t get me wrong – I think for instance that Opal‘s tendency to look outside of Google for monetization is a smart thing.

I mean, say you rely on Google and then you get hit with a huge penalty that takes away all your PR, Adsense and traffic in the SERPS.

You’re basically screwed. And it doesn’t help matters that Google isn’t warning webmasters first before stripping them of PR. (I mean, what is the point of webmaster tools if Google isn’t going to tell us about problems they are finding with our sites).

The Penalty Situation
So here’s what is a happemin’ – I originally read about the situation on Court’s blog, and it seems that the big G is laying the smacketh down on sites that are selling text links. Now thus far I’ve been unsucessful with text link ads but I’ve still been giving it the college try.

Until now.

I read a FANtasic article about text links and google. It’s long, but it’s well worth the read. If you want the short version of how I feel now, here it goes…

  • Google is first and foremost provides a search engine and is constantly trying to make that search engine the best in the world. The practice of selling text links undermines what they’re trying to accomplish and makes their search engine not as good as what it aims to be.
  • My current PR and Alexa Rank is so low right now that even if I WERE to sell text links, it probably wouldn’t outweigh how much I could make with a better PR. So the threat of penalty is enough for me to stop text link ads for now.

Interesting to Note
First, I have to re-iterate how much I think you should read that article. I think it is simply one of the best articles I’ve read in quite sometime and certainly deserves your attention.

But besides that, we all know about iWEBTOOL’s Page Rank Predictor right? Well try typing in those sites that have allegedly gotten penalized and it doesn’t return data. Other sites which haven’t been reporting penalties are doing ok per the tool though. Now I’m not saying this means one thing or the other, but I just thought it was interesting.

PR Finally Updating AND Ad Tracker – Ethical or EVIL?

Once again, it seems like Page Rank is making its way back into our daily conversations.

Lots of my readers have been saying lately that they’re seeing some changing values for their PR, with most saying that their PR has actually dropped.

Does this mean that the heralded PR update is finally making its way through the blogosphere or are people just getting penalized?

Is An Update Happening?
It would seem as if an update of SOME kind is happening. Just comparing the PRs I recorded for sites in this month’s Blog Earnings Report compared to the month before, you can see at least one change – Apexad‘s site dropping from PR5 to 4. And others like Opal T have also said that they’re seeing some change on their sites too.

Hopefully I also will be saying soon that I see a change. (And I’m thinking that when since I’m already a PR1 – the big G wouldn’t be so cruel as to drop me to PR 0).

Updating or Penalizing?
If I had noticed or heard of anyone’s PR going up, I’d probably be able to chalk the changing PR to that elusive update we’ve all been waiting for. But all I keep hearing is that PRs are going down.The other day I even received an e-mail from a fellow blogger saying that it appears Google has manually (I say “personally”) penalized his site for selling links by dropping his PR from 3 to a 2! How much does that suck?! I really hope it’s a fluctuation before his real PR hits because I know he has been really making some headway on his blog and this undoubtedly will stunt his marketing efforts.

Have you guys been seeing changing PR on your sites?

Setting the World on Fire
Did you hear that Google is getting rid of Page Rank for their new system called Page Rate!? I hadn’t either until I stumbled onto Ad Tracker’s post about the whole thing.Oops, did I forget to mention that the post was not true?

That’s right kids and it seems to be causing quite a ruckus in web development circles, but I’m sure it’s doing wonders for Ad Tracker’s site and certainly falls in line with what we talked about here on my They Cry Outrage (and Then They Comment) post where you challenge readers beliefs or something they hold dear, and watch everyone come out of the woodworks to say something.

BUT GET THIS!

On the same They Cry Outrage… post, Ad Tracker herself made comments about the subject which now strikes me as hilarious given her current situation!

LOL!!

“what if I were to one day to talk about bringing troops home from Iraq or why the US shouldn’t have an official language…”

That sounds like evil on a John Chow level! I love it!

I have actually considered setting aside one day a week for controversial topics, I just haven’t had the guts yet.

Isn’t it fun to draw the lurkers out of hiding though? 🙂

Bush – That’s called “Provoking Thoughtful Interaction” and there’s nothing wrong with it. In fact I think it’s smart.

I try to do it on my blog. The difference is I try to use thoughtful introspection to promote reactions. That’s about the only method I could think of to stir the pot on my blog. I’ve kind of set the mold for a “nice-nice, feel-good” kind of place. If I made a post about politics or global warming (same thing?) I’m afraid the place would suffer a melt down. (A big pink, cotton-candy meltdown. That’s not a pretty image.)

So What do YOU Think?
Well it would seem that Ad Tracker has seen quite the opposite of “a big pink, cotton-candy meltdown”, but instead an explosion of traffic and links! Now in fairness, Ad Tracker put her post into a “Humor” category, but I think the tiny text was missed by most that linked to her. So is this post on par with “John Chow evilness”? I’m not sure how people view Ad Tracker’s website (in terms of seriousness), but if say ProBlogger or John Chow had a post like this, how would you view it? Ethical and Humorous? Or just a ploy for more links and traffic?

What do you think? PR Updates and that Ad Tracker post make me think that you guys will have a lot to say! Let’s hear it!

Study of Blog Earnings Report September 2007 (MyBlogEarnings)

I’m almost embarrassed to post how much I made last month.

I’m not gonna lie.

But you know what?

No war was ever won in a day and no journey was ever completed with a single step. And with that said another month is behind me and I continue to battle on.

Now onto the good stuff!

Revenue Name Alexa Rank Page Rank Revenue Source
$20,512.17 John Chow 2,377 5 Private Ad Sales
$13,253.00 Everton 18,280 6 AdSense
$220.26 Alex “apexad” Martin 304,640 4 Pay Per Post
$196.00 Madhur Kapoor 117,046 4 AdSense
$85.07+ BeachBum Michael 282,875 4 Pay Per Post
$74.34 Casey 109,157 0 Direct Ads
$34.16 Bush Mackel 112,079 1 Review/Me
$1.36 Dawn 779,032 2 AdSense
$1.06 Forest Parks 970,495 0 AdSense

If anyone is interested, here’s how my earnings shook out:

  1. $20.00 – Review/Me
  2. $10.00 – Blogvertise
  3. $4.16 – AdSense

*ugh* I hate looking at these crummy figures of mine. And I’ll tell you why. I think my blog is worth more than what it’s pulling in. By far. But then, that’s really an emotional statement based on how hard I think I work on it. … I could go on much longer on this tangent but perhaps I should save that for a post. (#):)

Anyone else care to share? If you are so nice to post your earnings and the rest, I’ll go ahead and update this post w/ your information (including a shiny new link for your site/post)!

Taste of Bethesda 2007

One of the things you may or may not know about me is that I love eating.

I think food tastes great, and it is definitely one of the great things about being alive. (If you don’t believe me, you should taste some of things I bake sometime. (#);))

Having said that, one of the only redeeming things about the city I live in is its yearly food event, Taste of Bethesda!

A Good Time for All
Taste of Bethesda is an event held in the city I live in once a year about this time where all the local vendors (and we have a lot) have a chance to come out and showcase their goodies to the public. It’s basically just like a huge street fair but here every booth is food and there really aren’t any games. Which is fine by me.

This weekend my wife’s family is all in town so the day certainly became a family affair. Even the dogs came and found some dog biscuits that were being given out. (That’s how you know there’s something for everyone!) And for the most part the dogs were good but there was a ton going on…Tons of people, other doggies, noise, strollers etc so I had to quickly become Bethesda’s Cesar Millan to keep our dog in line.

What I Ate
As I said before, at Taste of Bethesda there is something for everyone! There was Indian food, Thai food, Chinese food, Mexican food and um…food for me. (#):) That’s right!, even with the crucial variety of food available, YOUR BOY had to go with what he liked which included two slices of pizza (one from two different restaurants), a chocolate bundt cake, plus a hot dog! Here I am enjoying my hot dog.

 

And if you can’t tell from the picture, the hot dog (like the event and the band’s awesome cover of Crossroads by Cream) was delicious!